A new phone with the heart of a classic camera could be well on the way, as Leica teams up with someone that isn’t Huawei.
It’s been some time since we saw Leica in a phone, though with more camera brands appearing inside smartphones, we’re not surprised that it’s still happening. Hasselblad recently teamed up with Oppo for the Find X5 Pro following an appearance years ago in a Motorola, while Zeiss can be found inside phones from Vivo and HMD’s Nokia brand.
Not every camera brand pops up inside phones — Nikon and Canon haven’t yet made that jump — but Sony still shows up inside Sony phones, shock horror.
We’ve joked about Lomo popping up in phones before, but there’s one other brand that has a history of appearing in phones: Leica.
Panasonic has used Leica in a short-lived phone before, but Leica’s regular phone appearances came from Huawei, which started in the P9 years ago, and have been used for many phones since then including the excellent P30 Pro.
But it doesn’t appear to be limited to Huawei, with another manufacturer jumping into the fray.
This week, Xiaomi signalled on Twitter that Leica would be collaborating with it on a new phone, and Leica joined in on the messaging, announcing a partnership that would see strategic cooperation in mobile imaging, also known as a smartphone camera.
Xiaomi and @leica_camera have officially reached a global strategic partnership in mobile imaging.
Combining the legendary image and innovative technology, let's look forward to a new era of mobile photography in July! pic.twitter.com/GyFut9ZTlg
— Xiaomi (@Xiaomi) May 23, 2022
“Xiaomi focuses on creating the ultimate user experience and has always hoped to explore the capabilities of smartphone photography to the extreme,” said Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi.
“Xiaomi and Leica agree with each other’s pursuits and ideas and appreciate each other’s advantages and industry,” he said.
“This cooperation will provide a strong boost to Xiaomi’s imaging strategy. During the cooperation, from optical design to tuning aesthetic orientations, the innovative technologies, product philosophies and imaging preferences of both parties have experienced unprecedented in depth collision and fusion.”
What that means right now isn’t quite known, but it does suggest a new mobile camera is on the way, and soon. Xiaomi says we can expect the new mobile in July, though it’s not yet known whether the phone will launch locally. We’ll let you know if and when it does, though, and what it looks like.